First Chores Every Southern Child Will Remember

Who knew Mama’s chores would end up making so many memories? We bet she did.

Vintage Photo of Boy Washing Car
Photo: Getty Images

Chores can have such a negative connotation. Nowadays we think of things like scrubbing tubs, unloading and reloading the dishwasher, and countless loads of laundry. But if you grew up in the South, your first chores were likely anything but mundane. Chore times were often some of the best times. Even if a few of them did start with a little bit of manual labor, before you knew it, you were often having the time of your life and making memories destined to last a lifetime. These weren't tasks that would inspire dread or procrastination, they were little jobs that Mama, in all her brilliance, knew would not only keep us (mostly) out of trouble, but inspire a lifetime spent finding simple joys in the every day.

First Daily Chores

Let's be honest, it's unlikely Mama thought you had the attention span to do much within the house aside from make up your bed in the morning and keep your room somewhat tidy. Feeding the dog though, that was your domain and you couldn't have created a more refined canine palette. Had it not been for you, Frank the beagle would have never tasted such delights as peanut butter, carrots, and the occasional lick of ice cream. It was probably also your responsibility to brush him, "bathe" him (please see section on "washing" the car below), and clean up after him, particularly if he got into something—which was certainly a daily occurrence. Was Mama's chore list responsible for the start of one of the greatest human-canine relationships of all time? We don't doubt it.

First Kitchen Chores

Our first cooking chores likely took place nowhere near the kitchen. In fact, they probably weren't even handled inside the house. When it comes to shucking corn, shelling peas, and trimming green beans, these first cooking chores are better left outside—especially when the chore doers are a rowdy herd of cousins in need of anything to get them out of Mama's hair for a minute. You might have also found yourself the designated dish dryer come dinner cleanup time, but those memories will never hold a candle to a good half hour spent on the porch, shucking corn. It was pure chore-time magic.

First Outside Chores

While our kitchen chores were mostly tackled outside, the true-blue outside chores were messy affairs. "Washing" the cars was one many of us might remember. Although it often started with good intentions, the car washing process usually evolved into some sort of water fight within minutes—particularly once the temperatures started creeping well past the 80s. If your crew was creative, you might have soon found yourselves watering the lawn, care of a homemade slip and slide (before there was such a thing) created with trash bags, dish soap, and the cul-de-sac's best-sloping yard. You for sure heard it for destroying the grass when Daddy got home, but we can't say it wasn't worth it—and that we didn't do it again the very next day.

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